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Greg Sargent at The Plum Line reports that House Intelligence Committee Dems are drafting a bill that would permit Intel Committee Members to sit in on CIA briefings of Congressional leadership on top secret programs and activities.

Dems on the House Intelligence Committee have drafted a new bill that would strip the President of his authority to limit such briefings to the so-called "Gang of Eight" — the leaders of the House and Senate from both parties, and the leaders of the Congressional Intelligence committees — and allow a larger group of members of Congress to attend.

The move, which is being championed internally by House Intel chair Silvestre Reyes, would also compel the CIA to keep a far more detailed record of these briefings, though these details still need to be worked out.

Republicans haven't reacted yet, but as with everything, it's a good bet they'll oppose the measure.

Of course, they just tried with all their might to turn the scandal of Dick Cheney's orders to torture prisoners in order to force "confessions" of an Iraq-al Qaeda link that would vindicate him politically into a story about what Nancy Pelosi knew and when she knew it. This bill would make it a lot less likely that there would be so much question about who knew what and when.

So of course, it's likely they'll oppose it. Because if we knew more about who knew what and when, it would be nakedly idiotic to try to make something as disgusting as political torture orders into a petty, partisan slapfight.

Expect Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI-02), the ranking Member of the House Intel. Committee, to loudly squawk that expanding the circle of Members who are briefed to compromise national security. Even though Members of the Intelligence Committees are all cleared for secret briefings anyway, by virtue of their positions. And even though Mr. Security is constantly compromising national security and his own, by doing things like tweeting about his location and activities while in Iraq.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 11:00 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  one thing the Goopers know how to do (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006, NoMoJoe, RickMassimo, MCMetal

    is be nakedly idiotic.

    Dear GOP&Conservatives If all you have to offer are Cliches and Hyperbole then STFU. Thanks XOXOXO

    by JML9999 on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 11:02:19 AM PDT

    •  Remember last week when ReThugs spoke (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of "proof" of Cheney's claim re Torture Works (TM) right after a classified briefing?  One ReThug who wasn't in the briefing - yet was briefed by his ReThug buddies - held a press event on the steps to claim this vindicated Cheney.  Gak.

      So their certain-to-come shrieks of Compromising National Security (TM) will ring hypocritically hollow and shameless.  Aka GOP Standard Procedure.  Sigh...

      They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq ~ Seneca Doane

      by JVolvo on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 11:41:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Crossing my fingers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006, JML9999, MCMetal
    I sure hope that comes about. I want to know that my elected leaders, not unelected men in CIA offices, are controlling what the agency does.
  •  The GOP and Blue Dogs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nathguy, moosely2006, JML9999

    Will oppose this vehemently ; and not out of concern for Obama , but for the next Ronald Reagan that gets into the Oval Office ......


  •  Well, you can't expand membership in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo, moosely2006

    a club without making it less exclusive.  I expect any number of Congress critters to get their noses out of joint about it.  I don't expect Panetta will be supportive, either.

    Damn transparency, anyway!

  •  The Gang of Eight was created via a (5+ / 0-)

    memorandum from the White House to which Bob Graham objected vehemently.  After discussions with the White House staff, he was given to understand that the memorandum was rescinded.  However, there's no evidence of any change in behavior, other than that Cheney, who was not on the distribution list or mentioned as a disseminator of information, started providing the briefings, if reports from Rockefeller and Pelosi are to be believed.

    How Dick Cheney got to be exercising "executive duties" on a regular basis without the formal delegation that's provided for in the 2? Amendment is a question that's yet to be asked.  If the authority was informally delegated, Bush was out of bounds.  If Cheney arrogated the authority, he engineered a coup.

    Anyway, the briefing of select members is supposed to be about clandestine operations only.  Never mind that there's no mechanism for disapproval to have any effect.

    And, to top it all off, it seems that the Gang of Eight were briefed, if at all, serially.  So, no-one knew what others were told and could take no concerted action.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 11:24:12 AM PDT

    •  You mean 4, not 8 (0+ / 0-)

      The "gang of 8" is a creature of the National Security Act; the gang of 4 that Bushies were using is not.

      •  It's my understanding that the Gang of Eight (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rincewind, rhutcheson

        was to be utilized to review clandestine operations--i.e. efforts to destabilize a regime.  Data collection and setting up interrogation facilities are sort of in-house operations which ought to be reviewed by the appropriate committees, if they've even been authorized.  But, authorization didn't seem to mean much to Bush/Cheney.  After all, they moved $300 million from Afghanistan to start planning the invasion of Iraq without authorization.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 01:31:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  and don't forget that (0+ / 0-)

      Bush issued that Oct 2001 memo because REPUBLICAN Richard Shelby leaked classified information to the NYT.

      One Nation, (still) Under Surveillance

      by rincewind on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 01:35:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry, Not Compelling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    this means nothing to me.

    the Company is more or less a rogue dept. of the government. congress for decades exercised zero oversight of them, zero debate on funding and so forth.

    the idea now that congress is now going to get them under control is a farce.

    even if this become law, the Court is always there to provide cover; as they did with the "missing" bush emails.

    The bank bailouts are a failure. Robert Reich

    by Superpole on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 11:30:56 AM PDT

  •  This is a good thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    transparency in government is the ultimate, but since these are national security issues, having a larger number of representatives in on what is happening can only add protection from runaway despots.

    Shouldn't there also be a built-in appeals mechanism where members of this inner circle can object to actions they feel are illegal?

    Change the media ownership laws - break up the corporate media monopoly!

    by moosely2006 on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 11:32:09 AM PDT

  •  Mission Accomplished, by the way. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rincewind, nathguy
    Of course, they just tried with all their might to turn the scandal of Dick Cheney's orders to torture prisoners in order to force "confessions" of an Iraq-al Qaeda link that would vindicate him politically into a story about what Nancy Pelosi knew and when she knew it.

    They didn't just try; they pretty much succeeded. Our Media Stars got to say "a pox on both your houses but especially the Democrats'," which is their favoritest thing in the world to say, and "getting to the truth would require a lot of, like, reading," which is their second favoritest thing in the world to say, and then they moved on.

    Fight until we win. Then we can begin arguing about the details. - Kwickkick (RIP) 2009

    by RickMassimo on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 11:32:47 AM PDT

    •  Only bc none of them would mention al-Libi n/m (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      •  Are you kidding? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        By their standards that's WAY in the weeds. Far too detailed. Much more fun to talk about David Letterman and Sarah Palin.

        Faced with evidence of lawbreaking, the Republicans did what they do best: screamed at the top of their lungs about whatever they could think of until those looking at them covered their ears and walked away.

        Fight until we win. Then we can begin arguing about the details. - Kwickkick (RIP) 2009

        by RickMassimo on Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 11:52:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  WOW - Just like FISA huh? PS less than 8 briefed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rincewind, rhutcheson

    You know, find the abuses, draft legislation ...

    ... refuse to do anything about violations.

    FISA was the legislative reaction to Presidential abuses of Executive secrecy and look where that got us.

    Right now, we already have the National Security Act and the CIA briefing schedules show very clearly that it iwas violated.  The "Gang of Eight" were NOT BRIEFED.

    Nope, nuh uh, no how, no way.  

    Instead there were piecemeal breifings on scattered issues of the "Gang of 4" which MSM and Congress went along with as if there were such a thing.  Finally, after years you got to something like a Gang of 8 briefing, but they never did brief Hastert, then you got to full committee briefings.

    THe NSAct already REQUIRES full committee briefings even for covert actions, except in certain circumstances and there is no evidence those circumustances - including Presidential findings etc.  - were followed.  

    New legislation is fine, but it's like upgrading the Taurus to a Mercedes before you hand off the keys to ... a two year old.

    If Congress isn't going to show that they can own and oeprate the legislation they already have, who cares about the changes they are saying they will make?

    A gang of FOUR briefing, as has been discussed numerous times (including Dana Priest's story that the Gang of 4 were briefed by the CIA on the 20ish yo they tortured to death in Nov of 2002, without ever knowing if he had anything to do with al-Qaeda or not) is already not justified under existing law.  

    And Reyes reaction is to ... write more law that it also won't be justified under.


  •  The number attending is not as important as (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what the attendees can do with the information. As currently structured these briefings are worse than useless. They give the Administration the cover of having briefed Congress and give the members no public mechanism to object.

  •  What Is Wrong with Democrats (0+ / 0-)

    Are they so fearful that they cannot even shape the debate?  Of course, we have a country full of fear mongers and frightened ants.  Remember that they are afraid of having a few MORE terrorists on American soil.  Remember even more carefully that these deviations from the issues are intended to win Republican votes.  Just as cynical as nasty old Darth Cheney.  Just as Disgusting as O'Reilly, Malkin, Hannity and company, who do all they can to feed the fear and frenzy of right wing terrorists, so many of who have been prodded into action in the last several months by all these 'responsible' 'morally upright' Cheney-ites.

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